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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
BY MARIEL BELL
One … two … three … four silhouettes crossed the darkness of the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Then a voice, a voice undeniably belonging to Chris Martin, yelled out: “Is there anybody out there? Tampa, is there anybody out there?” The crowd erupted from their seats with fist pumps, peace signs and a symphony of “whooooos!”
There was not enough time for my eyes to adjust from almost complete darkness to the iridescent glow of green, white, pink and blue glowing lights emitted by the audience's wristbands. No stage lights needed. Coldplay (Martin, lead singer, pianist and rhythmic guitarist; Jonny Buckland, lead guitarist; Guy Berryman, bassist; and Will Champion, drummer) and their glowing-graffiti-covered instruments were lit up by the crowd.
The audience was not merely part of the light show extravaganza, we were the light show at the concert June 28. The sweeping laser beams of red and green, the explosion of confetti from the ceiling, the rain of splattered-painted plastic balls and the lit-up Mylo Xyloto album symbols on the upper rows facilitated the crowd's energy.
Coldpay opened with their 43-second album song intro, Mylo Xyloto, and quickly melted into Hurts Like Heaven. My jaw dropped, and my heart did a little back flip, each and every time they surprised me with songs from their earlier albums, such as In My Place, Lovers in Japan, Violet Hill, Warning Sign, Speed of Sound, Clocks and Fix You to name a few.
A wide-eyed Martin looked simply in awe as the crowd overpowered his vocals in the chorus of The Scientist. “Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be so hard, I’m going back to the start.”
“Who has the best fans in the world?" Martin asked. "We have the best fans in the world!” he answered himself. Of course, we already knew that, but nice to hear nonetheless.
As even more evidence of Coldplay’s appreciation for fans' affection, Martin made a promise. “Thank you for letting us come to Tampa! In return, we’re going to try to make this concert the best f****** one ever!” Martin’s enjoyable antics -- his signature euphoric spinning, kicking a ball into the crowd, giving away his guitar pick -- were in full force and in dramatic fashion as he threw his guitar and purposely failed to catch it at the end of Violet Hill.
I jumped up, overjoyed, as they played the heart-wrenching Yellow and surprised me again as Martin put a new spin on the lyrics by belting out “And that’s what makes you beautiful!” (Perhaps a shout-out to fellow British band One Direction, also playing in the area last week? Actually, One Direction member Harry Styles was at the Coldplay show, and tweeted this photo of the confetti mayhem.) Once again it was obvious Coldplay cares a lot about their fans as Martin sang “Give me 16,000 people from Tampa in the same place, now let me see the hands of the whole place!” during God Put a Smile Upon Your Face.
Coldplay appeared to end with Up in Flames and disappeared. But no one left the arena. In fact, we rose up from our seats, at least the few who were sitting because they were exhausted from jumping up and down like circus monkeys, clapping and refusing to believe this was the end.
It wasn’t. Everyone sat down. Martin reappeared on a tiny stage in the middle of a fan-occupied section of the forum and proposed “We are now going to sing Us Against the World and we are going to slowly appear in the order of handsomeness on this stage, and I of course am first because I am the ugliest! Wait till our lead guitarist comes out because you will simply go bananas!” And in the middle of it, he made a blunder, cutting off during the middle of Us Against the World and apologizing with a sheepish grin. “Sorry! Our stage is too small!”
At the end of Paradise, Martin clutched his heart, fell on his knees, lay down on stage and threw confetti over himself in exhaustion. He kissed the stage after their emotional rendition of Fix You, right before ending with Every Tear Is a Waterfall.
It was the best concert I've ever been to. Not just because of the music, or because of the lights, or the confetti, but because of the energy of the crowd. There was no better feeling than raising my wrist band with thousands upon thousands of people who simply loved the music.
Mariel Bell is a 2012 graduate of Spoto High and a former staffer for tb-two*. She'll be attending Smith College in the fall.
Photos by Octavio Jones | Times
1. Confetti was not the only thing to hit the stage at the Coldplay concert.
2. Coldplay, and confetti, at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.